Effective Drip Marketing: What is It and How is It Done?

Feb 7, 2024 - By Camilla Mackeviciute

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If you’re a business owner who’s hands-on with their marketing and likes to stay on top of the latest marketing trends, you’ve probably Googled ‘What is email drip campaign’ already. 

You must have read a little about drip marketing and wondered what it is and why everyone is talking about it. Do drip campaigns work? And if they do, how do I measure drip campaign results for my business?

To answer the first question, let’s look on what industry statistics have to say:

Compared to individual emails, drip campaigns:

  • has approximately 80% higher open rates;
  • on average, 3x higher click-through rates.

From the meaning of drip marketing all the way to real-world email drip campaign examples done right, this blog will guide you on everything you need to know about increasing sales revenue using drip campaign strategy.

Let’s get started!

What is Drip Marketing?

Drip marketing is sending automated emails to your subscribers in small, incremental portions. These campaigns are designed to nurture potential customers and increase conversions over time. 

Drip campaigns aim to build an email list, then slowly roll out content and marketing messages over time to engage new leads in an ongoing conversation. Think of them as a way to communicate with your customers regularly over time. 

It’s the perfect solution to engage with your leads and prospects through several channels. Drip strategy involves planning to automatically deliver messages by managing: 

  1. Automation: Streamlining marketing efforts by automating the delivery of messages and campaigns, ensuring consistent communication with the audience without manual intervention.
  2. Timed sequences: Planning and scheduling messages or content to be delivered at specific intervals, creating a carefully timed and well-orchestrated customer journey.
  3. Segmentation & personalization: Tailoring messages by categorizing the audience into segments based on their demographics, behavior, or preferences. This allows sending personalized content that resonates with each group.
  4. Behavior triggers: Activating messages or campaigns based on specific actions or behaviors leads or prospects exhibited. Triggered messages ensure that communication is relevant and timely.
  5. Lead nurturing: Nurturing leads by delivering valuable content and information over time. This gradual approach helps build trust and guides potential customers through the sales funnel.
  6. Lead scoring: Assigning scores to leads based on their interactions and engagement with content. Lead scoring helps prioritize and focus efforts on the most promising prospects, increasing the efficiency of marketing campaigns. 

When Should You Use Drip Marketing?

Your drip marketing strategy is critical to the success of your business. Knowing when and where to launch drip campaigns is as important as knowing which drip templates to use and what content to send.

To understand where email drip campaigns can be used in your business, you must determine which areas could benefit from an automated yet relevant and highly personalized email nurturing sequence. You can use several types of drip campaigns to achieve your business goals:

  • Onboarding drip. You can guide new users through the initial steps of using your product or service, ensuring a smooth and successful onboarding experience using automated drips. Create sequential emails and schedule them based on the pace you want users to adopt the platform. 
  • Educational campaigns. Engage your customers using an email drip campaign by offering them valuable, actionable, and original content that aligns with your brand. Many do this with educational content, e.g., online courses or workshops.
  • Product or service promotion. Drive sales and user engagement by sending targeted emails highlighting special offers, discounts, or new product launches to generate interest and prompt immediate action.
  • Re-engagement campaigns. Re-engage users who haven’t interacted with your brand in a while (they don’t open emails or purchase from you). Send them re-engagement drip campaign emails saying “we miss you” and incentives, such as a discount, to drive action.
  • Abandoned cart recovery. Recover potential lost sales by sending targeted emails to customers who abandoned their shopping carts – remind customers of the items and offer incentives to complete the purchase.
  • Lead nurturing. Build relationships and trust with potential customers by providing valuable content over time, increasing the likelihood of conversion. Drip campaigns can be created to move prospects into existing customers by nurturing them at each step based on their activity or behavior.
  • Customer onboarding. After customers make their first purchase, ensure they keep coming back with educational emails where you explain how to make the most out of their new purchase.
  • Survey or feedback campaigns. Follow up with customers after a purchase to ask for feedback on the product on services. This kind of follow-up email is crucial in collecting information on how to improve your brand and products.
  • Seasonal or holiday campaigns. Invite your audience to take advantage of seasonal deals to keep them updated and engaged. Include timely and personalized sale updates in your drip marketing campaign.
  • Lead scoring drips. Assign scores to your leads based on their behavior, engagement, and characteristics. Use these scores to prioritize and segment leads, allowing you to tailor your marketing efforts effectively.
  • Cross-selling and upselling. Leverage cross-selling and upselling opportunities after purchase to boost revenue. Invite your customers to enhance their initial purchase with complementary products or highlight the benefits of upgrading their service.
  • Win-back campaigns. Reignite the interest of inactive customers and re-engage them with your business. Send incentives to subscribers who haven’t interacted with your brand, encouraging them to reconnect and make a purchase.

Set up and run drip campaign sequences using Sender’s workflow automation builder, making the process easy. You can do it for free, too!


Email Drip Marketing Examples

Now that you’ve read about some use cases and applications of drip campaigns, it’s time to check out some examples. Here are the different types of email drip campaigns you can plan, along with some interesting examples from popular brands: 

Lead Nurturing Campaigns

Once someone signs up to your mailing list, they cease being a casual website visitor and are now interested prospects. 

Drip email campaigns help you convert leads into customers over time by sending highly personalized and relevant content that resonates with this audience and gently nudging them to take the next logical step toward an ultimate buying decision.

The below email from Dropbox is a perfect example of how to nurture trial users and customers on a lower plan through a series of educational emails: 

Image source: Dropbox

The above lead nurturing drip campaign is designed for users who signed up for the Dropbox Replay service. The email gives users a glimpse of what can happen when they use the service. The CTA about trying a live review session is the perfect action point that takes a user further through the sales pipeline. 

Key Takeaways

  • Use educational content in your lead-nurturing drip emails; 
  • Add a contextual CTA that moves the user further into the buyer’s journey; 
  • Add a special offer or limited-time deal to invoke FOMO. 

Welcoming New Subscribers

A welcome email drip campaign welcomes a new user or subscriber and initiates a positive relationship with the prospect. It must be warm and thank the potential customer for signing up for the email list. The welcome email should also deliver the promised ‘resource’ in case you mentioned it during the signup process or tell them more about your product or services. 

Todd Snyder’s welcome email sequence does an excellent job of conveying the genuine warmth of a hearty welcome. Have a look: 

Image source: Todd Snyder

The email above is the first in a sequence of emails and sounds like a personal note as if written by a friend. The personal signature adds a personalized touch to the welcome message. If the message doesn’t melt a reader’s heart, the 15% off coupon definitely will.

Key Takeaways

  • Write your welcome emails as a personalized note; 
  • Add a special offer, deal, or ‘value-add’ to your email to tempt potential customers to buy;
  • Keep the email design simple and minimalistic.

Confirmation Campaign

One of the more overlooked emails in drip marketing campaigns is confirmation emails, however unrightfully so. Triggered as an automatic response to customer action, this type of email is crucial in ensuring the action was successful. Customers appreciate this reassurance in various situations, from knowing that they’re registered for an event to ensuring that their transaction went through and that they can expect their order to be delivered soon.

The Ilia brand took this task seriously and created not just a single but a few confirmation emails to avoid sending the exact same email every time a customer orders its products. Here’s one of them:

Image source: Ilia

The brand’s confirmation emails confirm that a customer has ordered successfully and reaffirm that their choice was excellent. The brand tells about its features and benefits, making the reader feel good about their purchase and motivating them to tell others about it.

The “Did you know…” segment cleverly lists the good things the customer can expect when they receive their order, and the CTA invites them to read more, ensuring engagement even post-purchase.

Key Takeaways

  • Confirm that your customer’s actions were successful immediately after they take them;
  • Use the confirmation email to ensure engagement post-purchase;
  • Make your customers feel good about their choice (and consequently about your brand), motivating repeat purchases.

Onboarding Email Drip Campaign

For certain niches and types of businesses, for instance, software or even online courses, the offer is a monthly recurring service or product that the user will initially need hand-holding. 

Onboarding emails help move new users through a maze, helping them make the most of their investment in a new product and showing them that you care about their experience. Look at the following onboarding email from Domestika: 

Image source: Domestika

Their onboarding email welcomes newly (and apparently “free”) signed-up users and provides them an option to directly shop the top courses while urging the user also to fill up their profile. Major course categories are also displayed below if the user simply wants to browse around. 

Also, the main CTA urges the user to complete their profile, which is the next step in the user journey, as the more Domestika knows about them, the better it’ll help to personalize the recommendations. 

Key Takeaways

  • Create the onboarding email as a how-to or tutorial consisting of the next steps; 
  • Add relevant suggestions about content to review, things to remember, or products to buy; 
  • Use a contextual CTA that appears like a natural ‘next step’ in the onboarding process. 

How to Set Up a Drip Marketing Campaign?

Setting up an automated email campaign is more about strategy, planning, and addressing pain points than choosing an email marketing service with marketing automation. Here is how you can set up your first drip campaign to get the best results: 

1. Identify Your Target Audience

Your first order of business when planning to start a drip campaign is getting a solid understanding of your target audience.

Find answers to these questions: 

  • Who are you selling to? 
  • What do they know about the problem you will ultimately help them solve? 
  • What do they know about your business and brand?
  • Do you have a special offer or information to help them solve their problem? 
  • What entices them to take action? 

Once you know the answers, segment your target audience based on their motivation to convert or any other metric you feel is valuable to capture, like online activity, engagement, etc. This will help you understand their feelings and desires and create the perfect email copy that attracts them to your brand or business.

2. Choose Your Triggers

Triggers are specific actions that trigger the sending of a particular drip campaign email. These actions are taken by users on your website, within your app, or in a previous email. They might be but are not limited to the following:

  • Newsletter subscription. When a site visitor leaves their email to subscribe to your newsletter, include them in a welcome campaign. It will make a good impression on your brand and make them look forward to your future content.
  • Trial download. Did a user sign up for your trial? Ensure they make the most of it and consider a paid version with a series of tips and tricks emails over the trial period.
  • Promotional engagement. If a user shows interest in your promotional content (e.g., clicks on a link), include them in a drip campaign that keeps them updated about the newest promotions.

3. Create Email Content for the Drip Campaign

Once you know your audience, their motivations, desires, and pain points, start planning your email content. In this step, write down the layout, structure, frequency, and actual content that will be part of your email sequence. 

You must understand and target your audience’s pain points in your subject lines, email copy, offers, and CTA (call-to-action) copy and drive action. Use the email copywriting best practices to start creating content for your email. 

If you’re stuck with creating content for email campaigns, check out our guide on email content.

No time to create an email from scratch? Worry not; Sender has not only a simple drag-and-drop email builder but also free design templates.


4. Plan Out Your Campaign

The most important aspect of your automated email campaign is to plan it well. This involves outlining your campaign goals, finalizing triggers, and drip campaign frequency. You need to be really careful in planning every aspect of your campaign, as this can define your campaign’s success or break your entire marketing funnel. 

For example, clear out what you want your audience to do during and after the campaign  — do you want more signups, purchase a course, or buy an item on your eCommerce store?

Next, use your knowledge of your target audience to use a contextual trigger and action. For example, define when the sequence is triggered — on a particular date (like a birthday, anniversary, or renewal date, user activity like purchase, abandoning the cart, or anything else).


Finally, define what you want your email marketing automation tool to do once the situation arises. Say, do you want the users to receive an email, SMS, or series of emails over the next few weeks?

These elements, as mentioned in the first part of this blog, are crucial to your drip campaign’s success. 

5. Start Your Campaign

The final step towards a drip campaign is to start it. This involves setting everything in the workflow or automation builder (like triggers, conditions, and actions), selecting an email list (or audience), and letting the automation tool do its job. At this step, you don’t need to do anything; just set the automation sequence for success and let it do the rest.

6. Test and Measure Results

The final and most important step is to measure and analyze the performance of your drip sequence. Ideally, you should monitor open rates, click-through rates, and click-to-open rates. 

You can use the reporting dashboard to get all the insights related to your campaign. Then, start updating and optimizing your sequence based on the reports. You can experiment and test your send times, CTA, copy, design, etc., to check what works best for your drip campaign. 

Key Elements of a Drip Marketing Campaign

Automated drip campaigns sound fantastic, but most people making their first automation sequences often need help. So, let’s address the fundamental question — what should a drip campaign include?

Even the most successful drip campaigns have only three main components. Master your understanding of these, and you can design your winning automation sequence.

  • Triggers. A trigger is an indicator that kickstarts your automation workflow and represents the first step of your automation design. Fundamentally, triggers are the actions that act as the basis of your drip campaign. The triggers include a time limit, a date, or a particular condition to be met.
  • Conditions. The conditions include the type of trigger you want to apply. Some of the most common conditions include a user’s activity, location, and a user’s email activity or moving to a different email list. Conditions make your automation smart as it checks for a given situation and responds appropriately. 
  • Actions. Actions are what must happen when the specified conditions are met. You can move a subscriber to another email list, remove subscribers from a group, update a custom field, notify yourself (or your team), trigger an autoresponder, or do several actions based on triggers and conditions. 

Building automation that works is simple with Sender when you nail down the above elements and have clarity on what needs to get done, i.e., the overall objective and what needs to happen at each step for that to happen.

Key Takeaways 

  • Add automated email drip campaigns to your email marketing software to ease your marketing efforts; 
  • Strategic triggers, conditions, and relevant actions are crucial for building successful drip campaign emails;  
  • Deep mastery of marketing automation tools is essential to understanding how email drip campaign works; 
  • Always choose a drip campaign software that offers generous free plan limits (to test the capabilities) and options to create different drip email campaign types.

Author Bio

Anmol Ratan Sachdeva is a content marketer and small business consultant who has a strong grip on topics like marketing automation, email marketing, and content marketing. He loves to write about starting, improving, and growing a business.

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